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The Voice Of Chad The Bird Talks Creativity In The Time Of Coronavirus

Written by on March 17, 2020

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Actor Josh Zagoren is a voice actor, artist, and storyteller who is, like so many others, using this newfound time at home to make lemonade out of lemons. 

You might recognize his voice as the one behind “Chad the Bird” – a staple of Chicago’s Paper Machete Live Magazine. The character Chad is from Laguna Beach in Southern California and often remarks on the stupidity of mankind.

Jill Hopkins spoke to him over the phone about what his time in self-isolation has meant for his creative process and what it’s like to document such a strange time in the world.


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You are on the other side of this phone line working in your home editing some new YouTube content for people who are a fan of [Chad the Podcast]. Now this is something you had done before, but not necessarily out of necessity. Talk to me about the thought process that was like, “Yeah, this is something that I want to do again.”

So when I first started doing Chad the Bird in Los Angeles, way back when, I had these little videos that I would do [with] the Chad puppet. Most of it was cam girls stuff, and I had a friend who was a cam girl who was like “Hey I think this could be a really funny thing to do – to throw at people who are used to seeing just, you know, pretty people talking about video games…and other things.” [laughs]

I would just do Chad, and because it’s a character [and] a puppet, after a while my hand would get heavy, so I would have to cut away to something else so I could chill out. So I started making these quick, two-three minute, dumb, educational things where it’s like, “Here’s all you need to know about the lottery or turkey or snack chips – this random stuff!” And I would just throw a bunch of information out really fast and it was always really fun to do and it kept me busy.

Because when you’re starting to work in Los Angeles there’s a lot of free time. Kinda like now! That’s when I was like, “Oh hey, we’ve done this. Let’s do this!”

Here’s the thing about Chad the Bird, is that he is very timely with his topics and is also weirdly wise for a bird puppet from Southern California. So this seems like the exact sort of thing that Chad the Bird would [be about]. Tell us about the Fire Side Chads that you’re doing. That name kills me!

We’re doing these five minute videos, once a day, that you can click on at 4:20 through my Facebook and Instagram and all that stuff. And eventually it’s just gonna be five minutes of a random thing that the character Chad was googling or thinking about. That’s it. That’s where it comes from.

It’s just like, “Hey, what are you doing today?”
“I don’t know. I’m just messing around.”
“Okay, well I found this quarter in my pocket. How do we get quarters?!”

And then five minutes of him talking about that.

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I feel like since we’re all kind of stuck at home and just kind of mainlining content right now, this sort of stream of consciousness thing is going to be very, very appreciated by people who have a lot on their minds and really just need to laugh. Is making folks laugh kind of top-of-mind here for you, making this this vlog?

Yeah, always. Like, not even paramount. We’re living in such a strange, dark, freaky timeline that what else can we do? I see a lot of content right now that’s just like, “We’ll all sit around and talk about how sad we are.” And I’m like, “Do we really need to do that? Is that necessary?” I guess maybe it is for some people – I shouldn’t judge – but it just doesn’t work for me.

I don’t know, I’m a 90s kid! I need rapid-fire nonsense to feel better about stuff. Otherwise I’m usually just apathetic and chronically depressed, because that was growing up as in the 90s. We need liquid television again for this kind of scenario where it’s like, “Well, you can’t leave! So good luck figuring stuff out!” And I’m like, “Hey, I used to do that all the time! It was called summer vacation.”

I mean, I could grind out a couple of games and just watch a whole bunch of nonsense. But I think it’d be more fun to make it.

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As storytellers we are living historians. It’s really important for us to be kind of documenting this as it goes along, so that details don’t get to be bastardized later on down the road.

Right. We want to make sure we have the receipts. And luckily, because of the internet, we do. And that’s awesome. And we don’t have an agenda either. We’re just talking about what we’ve experienced and where we’re at.

And I think that’s gonna be the truest that you’re gonna get, is the person that’s like, “Yeah, I can tell you all kinds of facts about what happened in 2020. But I was there when you couldn’t buy toilet paper, and you couldn’t buy hand sanitizer, and everything was really weird.” And I think that’s more interesting for people to go through than just throw a documentary at you. So I think we’re gonna have a lot of work ahead of us.

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We are gonna have a lot of work ahead of us, but also I am really looking forward to the great art that’s going to come out of this whole thing – yours included. Where can people find Josh Gordon and Chad the Bird online?

The podcasts that I do, that’s Chad the Podcast, you can hear on iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher. Used to be the bits we did from The Paper Machete Live every Saturday, or interviews and all kinds of content. But now because of quarantine and self-isolation and all that, it’s just gonna be Chad in the studio with the sound engineer every Saturday.

And then to add on top of that, every day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter at 4:20 I will be dropping a five minute Chad-rant about something just for fun. Then we’ll start branching out a little bit more and we’ll all get a little more comfortable with this and it’ll be even more content on even more platforms.

You know, we need to laugh. We need good stories. They’ve got you covered.